A dog‘s fluid requirement is between 40 and 100 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. The actual amount depends on feeding, activity level, and outside temperature. Maybe your darling has exhausted himself a lot and therefore drinks more. When jogging, cycling, or dog sports, enthusiastic fur noses surpass themselves – and go to their performance limits.
Sometimes, however, dogs consume excessive amounts of liquid for no apparent reason. This is an alarm signal. Serious illnesses can be behind this. Too much water can be harmful and even lead to poisoning.
Here you can find out how to find out what is behind the changed drinking habits and when a visit to the vet is necessary.
Common Causes of Increased Thirst
If your dog drinks a lot once or temporarily, the cause may be harmless. The three most common reasons for increased water intake are the weather, diet, and your four-legged friend’s activity level.
Salty snacks and chews make you thirsty. Have you perhaps given your four-legged friend a few out-of-order treats? In general, diet plays a major role in fluid requirements. If you feed it dry food, your dog needs more water than if it were fed wet food or BARF.
This is due to the water content of the meals:
- Dry food contains only about 10 percent moisture.
- In wet food, the water content is around 70 to 80 percent.
- With BARF, the feed rations consist of about 75 percent water.
If mostly dry food ends up in the bowl, your dog is forced to compensate for the lack of liquid by drinking more. This is not necessary for the other two forms of nutrition. Meat, but also fruit and vegetables have a high moisture content. Accordingly, your four-legged friend drinks less.
It may be particularly hot outside. Your four-legged friend does not sweat in the hot summer sun as we humans do. Dogs regulate their body temperature with their paws and by panting. Fluid is lost through this. Your darling tries to compensate for this loss by drinking more.
Do you live with a Pug or with a Weimaraner by your side? Aside from size, activity level matters. Is your four-legged friend a real sports cannon and always on the go with you? Then he needs more liquid than a cozy companion who prefers to lounge on the sofa.
Signs of Illness
The weather, the diet, or the high level of activity of your four-legged friend can’t be the reason for his increased fluid consumption? Then you may have a serious illness. To be on the safe side, make an appointment with the vet for your dog. It is best to bring a urine sample with you for testing. Some diseases are closely related to drinking too much water. We have compiled the most common ones for you here.
Does your four-legged friend vomit frequently? Does he have diarrhea? During this time, the body loses fluid. This may result in your dog attempting to compensate for this lack of water by drinking. Your veterinarian can help you find the cause of the gastrointestinal issue. Poisoning may even be behind it.
Dogs with kidney diseases also drink a lot. Your kidneys are not working properly. The organs are no longer able to reliably filter the blood and transport the toxins out of the body via the urine. In Cushing’s disease, a disease of the adrenal gland, tumors form in the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland. Symptoms include an increased need to drink and frequent urination.
Is your four-legged friend already a senior? He may have diabetes mellitus. This metabolic disease is more common in older dogs.
With bladder infection, the urinary tract is irritated. Your dog feels the constant urge to urinate. This causes him to excrete a lot of fluid. Sometimes this happens unintentionally. Then you may find droplets in the apartment. Your four-legged friend instinctively replenishes this loss of liquid by drinking more.
Was your bitch in heat four to ten weeks ago? Then behind the increased water intake could be a uterine suppuration.
Water Demand & Control
Does your dog feel like it’s constantly at the water bowl? If you want to make sure that your four-legged friend is drinking too much, make a note of how much liquid he is consuming.
You do this as follows:
Use a measuring cup to measure the amount of water your four-legged friend gets for a week. In the evening you check how much of it is left in the bowl. This is how you calculate how much water he drank. Caution: Most dogs spill. Subtract what lands next to the bowl from the total amount of water. Otherwise falsified values arise.
Is the quantity still too much? Then there is no way around a visit to the vet.
Do you notice any other unusual symptoms in your darling?
- Food: Do you notice any changes in food intake?
- Urine: Does your dog have to go out often? Do you notice incontinence and uncleanliness? Do you see blood or purulent discharge on your dog’s vagina?
- Fur: How does the fur of your four-legged friend look? Is it dull, shaggy, or scaly?
- Behavior: Is your dog behaving differently than usual?
The more information you can give your vet about everything, the better.
Way to the Doctor
Your veterinarian will first give your dog a thorough examination. He’ll probably do a blood test and use imaging techniques like X-rays and ultrasounds to find out what’s wrong with your loved one.
After the vet visit, you will know whether your four-legged friend is doing well or whether you have to deal with an illness.
If your dog drinks too much water, it is life-threatening: it can overhydrate, causing its electrolyte balance to become imbalanced. Typical symptoms of water intoxication (hypotonic hyperhydration) are vomiting, restlessness, tiredness, breathing problems, difficulties with movement, dilated pupils, convulsions, and unconsciousness. In this case, there is no time to waste: this is an absolute emergency. Take your dog to the nearest animal hospital immediately.
There may be harmless reasons for your dog temporarily drinking a little more water. Perhaps it is due to the high temperatures, sporting activity, or a change in food from wet to dry food. However, the increased water intake can also be an indication of a disease such as diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, or uterine inflammation. Have your four-legged friend thoroughly examined to be on the safe side. If it’s a false alarm, you at least have the certainty that your darling isn’t missing anything serious.
If there is an illness behind it, you can react quickly. It is often possible to alleviate the symptoms and cure the underlying disease.